As a sufferer of anxiety, you need to be concerned with two things:
- How to defeat it
- How to live with it
Whilst I could write all day long about how you can go about fighting your anxiety, learning how to live with it is also very important. As I often stress, it takes time to defeat your anxiety issues. And during this time, you still want to experience as good a quality of life as possible.
So how do you go about living your life as normally as possible whilst you cope with anxiety? It is tough – no doubt about it. But there are things you can do to make your life easier.
There is nothing more potentially valuable to you than the support of your family and friends. I cannot overstate how much of a difference this can make. When my anxiety was at its very worst, I tried to keep it hidden from all of my friends and family. I kept my suffering to myself. I was stupid to do so.
There is still a certain taboo surrounding anxiety. Perhaps taboo is the wrong word - some people simply do not understand. This is often the case with conditions that aren’t ‘physical’. It is far more difficult for a person to empathize with something that they can’t really see. And unfortunately, some people ridicule and belittle sufferers of anxiety. Phrases such as “pull yourself together” and “get over it” are not uncommon.
People are wrong to have such an attitude, plain and simple. And I want to be very straight with you in saying that if any of your family or friends adopt such an attitude, you need to carefully consider whether or not they are a positive influence in your life.
Do not do what I did – do not suffer alone. Many of my family and friends now know what I went through, and most of them say, “Why on earth didn’t you say something?” And quite right they are. Support in such difficult times can help enormously in dealing with anxiety.
This is of course easier said than done, but trying to keep a positive outlook is vitally important to dealing with anxiety. I fully expect some of you to roll your eyes at the thought of having a ‘positive outlook’ – I understand. It is very easy to look at something from the outside and tell someone that they should keep their chin up. But I have been where you are, and I do know how difficult it is.
Beating anxiety is a war – as long as you are winning the majority of the battles, you are heading in the right direction. Thinking of it in that way can help you to rationalize and make sense of your anxiety, and also better recognize the progress that you are making. The support of your family and friends tie in with all of this as well. It is much easier to keep a positive outlook when those around you are cheering you on.
Please take note – anxiety and depression can be closely linked. There is a difference between being unhappy and fed up with your situation, and being genuinely depressed. If you feel that your unhappiness is reaching lower depths than what you would consider ‘normal’, you should seek the advice of your physician. Depression is a crippling illness, and should be treated seriously.
Perhaps most importantly, you must never stop fighting. Giving up is your worst enemy.
I know this because for a period of time, I gave up. An acceptance of my situation had crept into my mind and threatened to take hold. Fortunately, I pulled myself out of my funk before it was too late. I made the decision that to live with my situation in the long-term was not acceptable.
So never stop fighting. Surround yourself with caring and supporting family and friends, and try to be optimistic. Then seek all the help that you can possibly get. Deal with anxiety.